Chapter Zero

A common thread running through the original articles that became this book is experimentation with mathematical notation. You might think mathematical notation would be the most consistent and systematic form of representation possible. You'd be wrong! Mathematics is a natural language, made up by humans, and contains just as many inconsistencies and arbitrary rules as any other natural language. In this chapter, I want to begin by making a few observations on this language, and to explain some of the conventions I use in this book.

When someone says “Consider the x, y, z values,” you immediately think they are talking about 3D coordinates. When someone says “the quantity $\theta $,” you usually guess ...

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